Archive for March, 2005

I’ve finally decided that I’m going to relieve the Jeep from “daily driver” status. It’s clocked 115,000 miles (75k of those are mine), and although I honestly think that it will go another 100k it’s gotten to the point that it needs some TLC and a watchful eye (and the errant electrical gremlins will begin rearing their ugly heads when it starts getting warmer again.)

So I’ve started making a list of potential replacements. My goals are to buy something sedanish (4 doors), sporty (so probably not the base model of something), reliable and good in poor weather. My initial list consists of:

Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V
Nissan Altima 3.5
Mazda 3 (4 door s)
Mazda 6
Toyota Matrix
Subaru Impreza WRX

I grabbed online access to Consumer Reports today and checked out all of the above. I was a tad disappointed that the Sentra doesn’t rate very well over the long term, although I think honestly I just wanted an excuse to drop it off the list. The Mazda 3 is the least expensive on the list (just a hair under $20k), but I’m leaning toward the Impreza (all wheel drive and some more balls, and CR gives it very high marks).

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Good designers gone bad

Posted: March 13, 2005 in Computing, General

I recently visited an ex-coworker’s website and was startled to see… or more to the point hear what he had put online. Music, that bane of the web, came bellowing out of my computer speakers when I reached the (newly redesigned) home page. I can’t tell you how this annoys me and saddens me at the same time. His job (at least as far as I still know,) is web related which means he really should know better. So I wonder, what the hell happened?

Now as far as the music choice is concerned, it’s not unpleasent (and knowing him, it’s probably something that he actually recorded). That said, it’s still music… on the home page. Of course then there is the design of the page, which is decent enough, but really doesn’t show much growth (it looks pretty much like everything he’s done in the last five years). This also saddens me and reinforces my belief that his employeer provides a stagnate creative atmosphere.

The issue is that he’s probably become like everyone else in the department, happy to work there until they retire. I guess there is nothing wrong with that, but I guess I just wanted more. That said, I know I don’t have “more” now, but at least there is the potential for change.

New ForeSite web

Posted: March 12, 2005 in Computing, General

After plugging away for about a month on ForeSite’s website I finally put a new version online on Friday. As part of this project I started developing a pretty cool plug-in system that will allow me to add capabilities to other sites fairly effortlessly. The hardest part was trying to make all the user updated sections conform to XHTML standards. Check it out at www.ForeSiteTech.com.

Valid XHTML

Posted: March 4, 2005 in Computing, General

So I figured that I should try to be valid in my CSS and XHTML from the start with this site, so I spent some time this morning working on validation. At first I thought I found a blogger error, but it was instead an error in the template I copied (from them). The good news is that my code validated pretty easily. My next task might be to re-create the template without using tables.

Upgrades everywhere!

Posted: March 3, 2005 in Computing, General

I just took a look at HostRocket’s shared hosting costs, and realized that I’ve been paying way to much for too little to host DrieStone.com (my professional site.) So I “upgraded” to 3 domain names, 3Gig of space and a bunch of other cool stuff, all for $1 more a month than what I was paying.

So now I have to decide what gets hosted there. I think I’m going to move DrieStone.net over there and maybe BuddyWish (which may be enough incentive for me to finish something up.)

There are so many technologies in existence for a variety of things in the computer world. I think everyone like the power of choice, but it does tend to be a bit oppressive too. Don’t get me wrong, this is not unique to the computing industry, I think every industry has some form of this.

The problem is standards, and as a professional what do you support? Take for instance, the great divide Microsoft vs. the rest of the world. Although one could learn both developers rarely do. It is better to concentrate on one discipline and become as skilled as possible without being forced to dilute your time and knowledge with basically a duplication of effort.

This, of course, does potentially put you at a disadvantage. Invariably someone will want the skill set that you don’t have (whether it’s a new job or a particular client.) I personally think going the non-Microsoft direction is safer since statistics show that most of the web world is non-Windows based (we’re talking servers here, not desktops.)

So I admit that I’ve always been a little slow to explore new technologies when it comes to development, and I still don’t know many older technologies. Which gets me to my point: Cascading Style Sheets. For years I’ve used CSS in only the most basic way, as a low level template system. It is one of those doors that I’ve never really opened fully, until now.

The problem is, traditional web design is very intolerant. It flies in the face of the purpose of the web (to present information.) I admit that I’m a horrible offender. I use (one might say overuse) tables to align and position things on the screen to look right. Although at it’s core this isn’t some big social mistake (humans are very visual so a good looking website IS important,) CSS allows us to separate content from the code (or more to the point, combine code and content in an effective manner.) Not to mention, proper CSS and XHTML code means that the pages (should) work on any compliant browser (truly browser independent.)

So, I am expanding my CSS knowledge, a good technology (and something I should have learned to properly wield years ago.)